Last year a friend gave me a book called “The Four Agreements”, by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is a small book, approximately 80 pages. However, the life lesson could not be more profound. In this month’s blog I would like to share with you what these agreements have meant to me and how they shape my life.
Agreement #1 – BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD.
I am sure when you first glance at this agreement you are thinking of course I am impeccable with my word. But are you really? When I thought about it I realized I don’t always follow through. This statement is not just about what you tell other people, but more about what you tell yourself. I don’t know how many times I have told myself; I will take better care of myself. Only to repeatedly go back on my word and fall back into the same bad habits. Same can be said for every aspect of my life. I get up in the morning with the best intentions to complete all the tasks on my list. Some days I am successful and some days I’m not. For me this statement means to be true to myself and to fulfill promises I make to myself. Whether it is taking care of myself, pursuing a dream by making it a goal, being kinder to myself and multiple other promises both present and future. So for me this statement can also mean “Be True to Yourself.”
Agreement #2 – DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY.
When I was younger I had a really hard time with this statement. For a good portion of my adult life and all of my childhood I did not feel like I fit in. I felt different and most times as an outsider looking in. When I was not included in a group or conversation I assumed it was me and I had done something to turn people away from me. I started putting adjectives to my personality; assertive, aggressive, distant, distrusting, funny, complicated. As I grew older I realized everyone is on their own journey and I allowed my Ego to rule how I felt about others and what they thought of me. During my journey I suffered a great loss with the death of my husband. By allowing myself to truly feel deeply and allow others to see my vulnerability I was able to relax and let people see me for who I truly am and I started to observe others with less judgment. Realizing we all must find our own way in our own time. Therefore, when someone turns away from me or does not return a call in a timely manner, I just let it roll off my back and leave my Ego behind. I don’t take another person’s reaction as a personal affront towards me.
Agreement #3 – DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
We all make assumptions. If someone is rude we assume they are not a nice person. However, in reality they just could be having a bad day or something traumatic happened to them. Same is true for our intimate relationships. We sometimes take our partner at face value. If they say or do something hurtful, we assume it is targeted directly at us. However, in most cases it is because they are hurt, frustrated or scared. Their anger can just as easily be directed towards themselves. When watching the evening news we also make assumptions about criminals, political figures, celebrities. We assume we know people and their motives even if we have not met them. Finally, we make assumptions about ourselves. We may assume we cannot accomplish something because someone else told us we are not good enough. Recently, my partner sat down with me to watch “Hoarders.” He assumed these people just needed to have someone come in and throw everything away to start them fresh. I explained to him the reason I watch this show is because I am fascinated with human behavior and how people deal or not deal with the trauma in their lives. I explained that in each case the person suffered personal loss and/or tragedy. The hoarding was merely a symptom of something much deeper. In order to solve the hoarding problem the person had to deal with what caused it in the first place. Every one of us has some sort of issue. By being open to possibilities and keeping an open mind about people and circumstances your life can be richer and much more interesting.
Agreement#4 – ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
As you read this ask yourself this question. Have you done the best with what you have today? If the answer is yes you are on the right track. If the answer is no then ask yourself what could you have done better? Some days are better than others and some days I am stronger than others. When I get to the end of my life I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to live my life to the fullest each day. I try not to venture too far into the future as I believe this prevents us from living our fullest today. As Maya Angelou once said; “When you know better, you do better.” It is our job to learn and experience as much as we can while we are here.
In closing, I would like to impart these thoughts to you. By just focusing on these four agreements each day you will be able to lay your head on your pillow and sleep peacefully knowing you have lived your life to the fullest this day. That is my wish for myself and all of you that read this. If you get a chance read this book. It changed my life and I think it would change yours.